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What Will We Do Now?

Teaching Letter

Signs of the Times

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Every news report we hear reveals another crisis, and it seems most areas of human existence are affected. Financially weak currencies, unstable stock markets, and overwhelming national and personal debt have many analysts theorizing that we are on the brink of a recession of a magnitude not seen since the great depression. Morally, we live in an age that would shock our grandparents. Then there is the threat of world war, as radical Islam confronts Western civilization. Physically, we see an increase in earthquakes, floods, tornados, and droughts. We are reminded of the words of Yeshua (Jesus): “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8).

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The Tabernacle—God’s Dwelling Place

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Nachmanides, 13th-century Jewish sage and scholar, calls Exodus “The Book of Redemption” because it begins with the Jewish people in slavery to the Egyptian, traces their remarkable deliverance, and comes to an end with the establishment of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Once Moses had completed this amazing structure, according to all that God had told him, the glory of the Lord filled it so that even Moses himself was not able to enter (Exod. 40:33–35). Further, the Scriptures tell us that the cloud covered the Tabernacle by day, and the fire was over it by night in the sight of all the house of Israel (vv. 36–38). What a glorious picture this creates of God Himself, hovering over His people, protecting and guiding them, leading them in and out “throughout all of their journeys.”

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Yeshua wore a Prayer Shawl

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Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Yeshua [Jesus], she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment; for she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes I shall be made well.’ Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Yeshua, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My clothes?’

But His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, “Who touched Me?”’ And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction’” (Mark 5:25–34).

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Messiah

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Both Christians and Jews eagerly long for the coming of the Messiah. Yet, the topic of Messiah is one that has caused great division between Christianity and Judaism. The greatest dispute we have between us is the identity of the Messiah. As Christians, we know that Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) is the Messiah. Jews equally “know” that He is not the Messiah. The Jewish rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah has been a catalyst for Christian persecution of Jews throughout the centuries. What are the Jewish people looking for in the Messiah? Why did the Jewish people reject Yeshua? Did Yeshua claim to be the Messiah? I recognize that to adequately address this subject would require volumes, yet it is a worthy and important topic for even the length of a Teaching Letter.

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Why Stand with Israel?

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In my travels around the world, I have the opportunity to meet Christians from widely diverse church backgrounds. Bridges for Peace is an interdenominational organization, and so we are invited to speak in many different denominations. Fairly often, someone will come up to me and be honestly puzzled as they express the fact that they don’t understand why they should be interested in the nation and people of Israel. In this teaching letter, I want to give you a few thoughts about why all Christians should care about Israel.

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Israel: God’s Oaks of Righteousness

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“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1–3, NASB).

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Where Do We Go When We Die? Reconciling Jewish–Christian Concepts

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There is a long-standing joke that nothing is sure in life except death and taxes. To be accurate, there may be a few places on earth where taxation doesn’t exist. In that case, that leaves the only “sure thing”—death.

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What the World Needs Now

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Surprisingly, it is Israel.

No one can deny the incredible tensions that exist in Israel today as people the world over focus their attention on that tiny strip of land. Could it be that God wants to use those very tensions in Israel, and the attention of the nations, as a beacon of truth to reach a postmodern generation? Further, could this even be another fulfillment of Genesis 28:14? “Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

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The Blessing

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The Word of God is full of the idea of blessing. God blesses His people, people bless God, fathers bless their sons, God blesses things, and individuals bless others. Obviously, God the Creator knew what mental health professionals tell us today. One of the most basic needs of human beings is the need for affirmation or blessing.

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JERUSALEM, My Home

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What do you think of when you hear the word “Jerusalem”? Perhaps you think of the Mount of Olives splitting in two, when Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) returns. “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:4). Perhaps you think of wars––past and future. Maybe you think of the prophecy in Zechariah (12:3), which says all nations will come up against Jerusalem. “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

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